Jul 29, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let's Look at: Matt Garza

Today we take a look at Brewers’ Starting Pitcher Matt Garza, who was signed by Milwaukee in January of 2014, to add depth to their starting rotation. This signing allowed questions about the Brewers’ number 5 starter to disappear.

Previously, there had been much talk about the tail end of the Crew’s rotation, where it was thought Tyler Thornburg, Will Smith, or prospects like Johnny Hellweg would have had to compete. Garza’s signing stabilized the rotation (until Marco Estrada struggled), and brought years of experience to the third spot in the rotation.

When Garza joined the Brewers, he had appeared in eight seasons, never having posting an ERA over 4.00, excluding his rough 10 game stint in 2006. From 2007-2013, Garza posted a 3.75 ERA, good for a pitcher slotted third or fourth in the rotation.

Garza has stayed true to his projections so far this year, currently owning a 3.74 ERA over 22 starts.

He has also been resilient to adversity, allowing just one run a piece in his last two starts (15 innings) after being lit up for five runs in 1/3 inning on July 19th. These performances have placed him among league leaders in quality starts with 15. Batters are also hitting just .226 against him, good for 15th in the league.

Garza has had these successes despite a recent drop in velocity and subsequently, in his strike out rate, much like teammate Yovani Gallardo, as both starters have adjusted well to pitching while relying less on overpowering the hitters.

Garza’s previously highlighted year-to-year consistency was no doubt a factor in the Brewers’ decision to give Garza $50 million over four years, with a $13 million option for 2018.

His base contract will run to the end of the 2017 season, meaning he could become an important building block in the Brewer’s rotation should Gallardo and Kyle Lohse depart from the team after the 2015 season (or sooner).

For now, though, Garza joins Gallardo, Lohse, and Wily Peralta as a very good 1-4, and they look poised to help push the Crew into the playoffs, though their offense will need to be more prolific than it has been recently.

While  Garza will never be the ace of a rotation, his ability to bounce back from bad outings and post consistent, above-average numbers will prove valuable to the Brewers for years to come.

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